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Coming to a CapCon post near you soon: Complaining about overnight parking ordinances

by: Eric B.

Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 16:30:00 PM EST

The last couple of years, I've written columns for the local paper complaining about the way the city of Mount Pleasant enforces its street ordinance related to snow removal. What happens is this: Starting in September, the city starts putting notes on people's windshields advising them that September through May is snow removal season and that the city reserves the right to ticket people parked on street curbs, lest a blizzard sneak up and dump a foot of snow on the city before anyone knew what was going on. The policy discriminates against the poor and was clearly intended to target a group of them, CMU students. Anyway, the bit about emergency snow removal is at least plausible.

Or, so I thought until I ran across something written by one of the CapCon drones. Turns out the city just might be the world's worst despot in telling people to stay off the streets in case snow falls.

In the midst of the winter storm this week, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero declared a snow emergency, which prohibited "non-essential" commercial, private and public travel on city roads.

It raised questions about how much authority the government should have to ban travel during bad snow storms.

I actually saw this get mentioned earlier this week. One assumes that it has everything to do with the colossal Christmas week fuck up that left thousands of people without electricity on Christmas (including my mother) and less to do with America's Shoutiest Mayor elevating himself to Chairman Mao. Still, I wondered who would be the first to go off on it.

As happens so often on CapCon, what starts in dark possibility winds up walking in circles like a mangy hound looking for a quiet corner in which to die. The one constitutional expert the writer found said, no, it's hardly illegal to tell people.to stay off the roads if the city needs to clear them, and after pointing out that inquiries from CapCon were ignored that a spokesman for America's Shoutiest Mayor told MLive that essential meant that if you needed to go out because you needed food (a failure to hoard!) or had to go to work that they were okay with it. Same thing as declaring martial law, really.

At any rate, I look forward to CapCon's next article on this, "Overnight parking ordinances: A nuisance that inconveniences the poor, or step one towards the enslavement of mankind."

Eric B. :: Coming to a CapCon post near you soon: Complaining about overnight parking ordinances
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Yes, it is a nuisance and annoyance, but they actually do clean the streets here, and plow them in the winter when warranted.  The city enforces this sporadically, because they obviously don't have the money to do otherwise - few cities do.  If your in a residential neighborhood, you'll usually be fine, but if you're on one of the more major thoroughfares, it's hit-and-miss.

Who this mostly and actually affects are new city center residents who bring their cars with them, so a lot of your downtown and near-downtown loft and apartment residents.  When the city needs to clean the streets, though, they send out memos that allow folks to park in city lots and garages for the night.  That may mean a bit of a walk back home for some or carpooling for a day or so, but folks deal because it's what happens when you live in an urban city.

Anyway, what's with the frontpage?  It seems the body is stretched further across the page pushing the margins further to the side, which requires scrolling horizontally to see whole posts.

I think
it is the Dave Agema screen shot that is at issue with the frontpage.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
I was going to shrink the image a little bit to fit it into the traditional 450 wide pixel space, but the writing wasn't very clear. Plus, when you accuse someone of plagarism, it's probably best to include first hand evidence.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
Up here
The first time I wrote about this was in response to the city ticketing curbside cars ... on a night in the 50s sandwiched in between two days in the 80s. There's no need to do that, and it was very clearly intended to generate a bit of revenue. Our "snow removal" ordinance is in effect from September until May, curiously enough the same span as a typical academic year at CMU (graduation is usually the second weekend in May).

There are alternatives, especially considering the communications technology available today. I get a text message, a phone call and an e-mail if the local schools are canceled, and I'm also subscribed to the county's emergency management system so I also get a call if there's a storm warning (got a call from it concerning the cold). The city could do that, too, and allow people to park their cars by the curb overnight where its more convenient for them, but getting the city to consider anything new is a right chore. It's also something that mostly affects poor people.

Oddly, when I first wrote about this issue, one of the people who defended the city's conduct was a former Mackinac Center writer who now works for the Heritage Foundation.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
Down here
Forgot to mention that Lansing uses Nixle for text and email notifications for things including plowing.  Downtown Lansing snow removal is handled by the downtown development authorities Downtown Lansing, Inc. (formerly the PSD), and they use physical memos (I know because I get them lol).  Fortunately, I live somewhere that has on-site parking, so I've never really had to deal with this.

Also forgot to mention that because of either street sweeping/cleaning or snow storms that Lansing's on-street parking ordinance is year-round.  There is no parking on city streets from 2AM to 5AM every day.  

The city, though, very rarely enforces this until heavy snows.  And, this is well and good, because I think you could make a case that this particular temporary ban is unconstitutional, particularly in the neighborhoods.  Not every residential area in this cities have driveways and/or garages, alleys or parking lots, so on-street parking is often the only place to park.  In the city center and other business districts in the city, though, while it's a harship, the city actually does provide reduced or free parking to keep cars off the street early in the morning when the street sweepers or plows come through.

[ Parent ]
The next time there's an epidemic of a deadly disease...
CapCon will lay out the case for defying quarantines and for refusing to get themselves and their families vaccinated. Lovely.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

Don't tread on me (and my right to contract / spread ebola).

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]

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